Giants Preparing for Raiders with or Without Eli

 

Fri, Oct. 9, 2009
TOM CANAVAN

 The Associated Press
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Not only have the New York Giants been good this year, also call them a little lucky.

With Eli Manning facing the prospect of missing his first start since taking over as starting quarterback in the middle of the 2004 season, look who’s coming to New Jersey to play Tom Coughlin’s unbeaten team.

It’s none other than Al Davis’ hapless Oakland Raiders (1-3), a team whose only victory came against the winless Kansas City Chiefs, and one that has scored nine points in its last two games.

Want to know how bad this team is?

Coughlin started his Wednesday news conference, during which he discusses the upcoming opponent, by saying how great the Raiders’ kicking game was.

It doesn’t say much about the rest of the team, and there really isn’t much to say.

Oakland’s offense is ranked last in the NFL and the defense is 18th overall, which might very well influence whether Manning takes the field with his inflamed heel.

Expect Coughlin to wait until Sunday to decide whether Manning plays.

However, the Giants can probably get by with veteran David Carr while resting Manning for next week’s showdown against the New Orleans Saints.

Halfbacks Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw and an offensive line that will be starting its 37th consecutive game can probably pound the ball against a run defense ranked 26th. That would allow Carr, who has 79 career starts in eight seasons, to be selective throwing.

On the other side of the ball, New York’s top-ranked defense is facing a banged-up Raiders offensive line and a backfield without starting halfback Darren McFadden. That doesn’t bode well for quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who has been shaky at best.

No wonder New York opened as a 15-point favorite in its first home game since the season opener.

“No! No! No!” Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said when asked if the Manning injury came at a fortuitous time. “You don’t want to look at it like that. That’s retrospect. We’ll do that after the game. You don’t want to overlook a team. We fell into that last year against Cleveland.

“Its not going to happen,” Kiwanuka added. “If they are going to beat us, they are going to have to beat us. We’re not going to go out there and mess up. If a team is going to beat us, they are going to have to earn it.”

Raiders coach Tom Cable, who’s facing possible league suspension for allegedly assaulting one of his assistants, doesn’t expect much dropoff if Manning doesn’t play.

“Look at the production they’re getting out of the receivers and the tight end in the passing game,” Cable said. “It’s a system; the run game, they do what they do. I think whoever is playing, you still have the other 10 pieces around you.”

Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said the offense won’t change much if Carr plays.

“As the game unfolds or as if it looks like there are some things that are not going as you planned, then you scale back and you adjust,” Gilbride said. “But we do that if a receiver is not getting open, if the running game is not going as well as it should, if somebody is getting beat in pass protection. But going into it, I would be very disappointed if he doesn’t play well because I think he will.”

While Manning has said he wants to play, he said he would not go if the team had to limit its game plan or he risked further injury to his plantar fascia, a band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and inserts into the heel.

Guard Chris Snee said that it has been a little weird with Manning’s status uncertain.

“Everyone is aware of the situation and knows where he is,” Snee said. “It’s not like he is a missing person or anything. We’re just trying to get comfortable with David.”

The Raiders, who have the speed on offense to break a few big plays, haven’t done it this season. They have scored 42 points, averaging 208.5 yards in total offense and a measly 119.8 yards passing.

Russell is hitting less than 40 percent of his passes, throwing one touchdown and four interceptions.

 

TomCableCable said the problem is more than his quarterback.

“I think it is a number of things,” he said. “We have not been able to run the ball with any kind of consistency. We have not been able to throw the ball with any kind of accuracy or anything like that. So we have to improve, really, in all areas offensively.”

Defensive end Richard Seymour, acquired in a trade with New England, said this isn’t a 1-3 team.

“I don’t think we have put our performance out on the football field,” Seymour said. “I think that is the most disappointing thing because we definitely have talent. But, as we all know, talent alone isn’t going to get the job done.”

The game should have one good matchup, with Raiders All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha lining up against Giants receiver Steve Smith, whose 34 receptions are the most in franchise history through the first four games. Smith had a career-high 11 catches for 134 yards and two TDs last week.

The Giants are looking for their first 5-0 start since 1990, the season they won their second Super Bowl.

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~ by Sactown Raider Boosters on October 9, 2009.

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